Tough new rules of organ removal unvelied

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Tough new rules governing the way doctors ask for permission to remove and retain the organs of dead patients were being unveiled today.

Relatives must be informed about what tissue and organs are to be removed from the body, and they should be asked about how they wish the organs to be disposed of, said the Royal College of Pathologists.

Better teaching and training is also needed for doctors and other hospital staff who have to deal with relatives, the College recommended.

The recommendations - immediately backed up by new guidelines from the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Liam Donaldson - were drawn up after the Bristol and Alder Hey scandals.

At the two hospitals, it emerged that thousands of hearts, lungs, brains and other organs from children who died there had been removed without their parents' knowledge.

Even as the Royal College was announcing its new guidelines, Health Minister Lord Hunt spelt out the actions the Department of Health was taking in relation to Alder Hey.

Lord Hunt named a new chairwoman for the Hospital Trust; published interim guidance to the NHS on dealing with bereaved parents from Professor Donaldson; and published the report into the case of Stephen White, a 10-day-old whose organs were disposed of without his parents' knowledge.

The Royal College today recommended new consent forms for post-mortem examinations, and information leaflets for relatives which will make clear what could be removed.

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